The market will be held in the vacant building at 79 Derby Avenue in Vankleek Hill. Before the pandemic, the markets had been held at the Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute. But safety changes had forced the outdoor market to the grounds of 79 Derby Avenue from June 20, with extra COVID-19 protocols in place.
The move indoors would limit the number of people able to access the market at once. Organizers encouraged patrons to order produce in advance in order to easily collect, or take advantage of the curbside pick-up service available.
Market president Aartje den Boer said Champlain Township had helped secure the site, while organizers had consulted with Eastern Ontario Health Unit to ensure safety protocols were followed. She said the community had shown strong support for the market and vendors during a year in which COVID represented only one of the challenges.
“We had a very cold spring, and there was still frost in June, so some produce was lost, followed by a very hot summer,” she said. “The response of the community here showed they thought it was important to support local farmers.”
The last outdoor market on Saturday fell on Halloween, and included costumes, a mask contest and other fun activities. den Boer said she hoped the local support would continue when the indoor market began.
“Our mandate is to bring local produce and local suppliers to the community,” she said. “People have realized the importance of that local connection with COVID. They have more time to cook, or they’ve started to grow their own produce or have their own livestock. That’s what it’s about, producing local and buying local.”
The next farmers’ market will be held on Saturday, November 7 at 79 Derby Avenue, Vankleek Hill, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.